Should I Drink or Not Drink Coffee?

Once again, that is a great question whose answer goes well beyond today’s column. However, we’ll try and touch on a few points. To even suggest that we cut out coffee is sacrilegious to most coffee drinkers. Part of the reason is that coffee contains caffeine which in and of itself can be habit forming. We need the kick of the caffeine to get us going. We all know that excess caffeine can have negative effects on us and therefore moderating the amount or avoiding some real “high test” versions from our local coffee store may be desirable.

On the positive side, a new study that discussed the relationship of coffee to liver health. Coffee might help reduce cirrhosis of the liver which is associated with eating too much and drinking to much alcohol. Researchers looked at data from previous studies and found that drinking 2-3 more cups of coffee a day was associated with a 44 percent risk reduction in developing cirrhosis of the liver.1 cup per day was associated with almost 22% lower risk of cirrhosis and 4 cups per day was associated with a 65% lower risk. Cirrhosis involves hardening, followed by destruction of liver tissue. This disease is potentially fatal. Coffee is a very complex beverage with hundreds of chemical compounds. Exactly which helps protect the liver we don’t know. Coffee is known to have antioxidant properties as well as reduce inflammation. Of course, if you are obese, smoke or have a poor diet, coffee is not the magic bullet for you, but it definitely will have a role in a healthy lifestyle.

So not that we are drinking 2-4 cups of coffee per day, what happens to our teeth? When we talk about the benefits of coffee, we must all remember that by drinking that super large, extra sweet latte will negate many of the positive effects of coffee. Perhaps more importantly, more than 55% of the drinks in a United Kingdom survey equaled or exceeded the World Health Organization’s maximum daily recommended amount of sugars for teens and adults, which is 30 grams or 7 teaspoons. Also, 35% of the drinks had the same or a greater amount of sugar than a can of Coca-Cola, which has 9 teaspoons. So these drinks will add weight to you and do a number on your teeth resulting in decay and breakdown of fillings.

If we just focus on basic coffee with its positive qualities we still see undesirable consequences to the coffee. Our teeth slowly stain and turn brown. So one easy fix is , to minimize the exposure of the teeth to the coffee. One way is to drink your coffee through a straw. This reduces the time that your teeth are bathed in the liquid. The other way would be to drink coffee in 1 or 1 gulps. Then if you immediately rinse your mouth or brush your teeth there will be less time for the stain to develop. Of course, a large part of coffee drinking is the relaxation and/or social aspect. Guzzling down the coffee will not fit with that lifestyle.

This is where professional cleanings come into play. We can’t or won’t do the suggestions that I just mentioned. We want or desire that very magical beverage. At the same time we desire to maintain that envious and attractive smile. Seeing our hygienists, Sarah or Shani, will help you restore the luster that coffee may have tarnished. If we are talking about cosmetics and a beautiful smile, you can come to us for a cleaning only more often than once every 6 months. Some patients come every 3 months and some come more often for that great looking smile. If you come to us on a monthly basis, we will give you every third cleaning for free. Call us at 440.951.7856 and schedule your visit towards creating a beautiful and healthy smile.

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